The major in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior (EPIB) examines the human dimensions of environmental problems. It addresses such issues as how human actions affect the environment; how societies adapt to changes in natural resource availability; and how individuals, nations, and international agencies respond to environmental hazards. Courses in the program deal with local, regional, and national differences in the use of resources; with social and environmental aspects of health and illness; with alternative strategies for environmental management; with the ethical, moral, and legal dimensions of environmental and resource issues; and with the roles of governmental and non-governmental agencies in environmental affairs.
To understand these topics, students are exposed to a multidisciplinary view of the environment and draw upon concepts from a variety of fields, including anthropology, ecology, economics, geography, sociology, political science, and psychology.
The objectives of the curriculum are to teach basic concepts and methods from the social, biological, and physical sciences as they relate to the interactions among people and the environment; to train students in the techniques of empirical research; to provide opportunities for experiences in "real world" situations; to guide students in acquiring practical skills such as environmental assessment, professional writing, data analysis, and demographic analysis; and to broaden students' knowledge regarding environmental problems and how people cope with them.
The curriculum offers five options:
United States Environmental and Resource Policy
This option encompasses the political, scientific, institutional, and economic dimensions of environmental and resource policy development in the United States. Students are prepared for careers in government, industry, or nonprofit organizations as well as for graduate or professional studies in political science, law, and public administration.
International Environmental and Resource Policy
This option focuses on the political, scientific, and economic dimensions of global environmental and resource issues. Particular attention is given to the role of international institutions. Students are prepared for careers in government, industry, or nonprofit organizations as well as for graduate or professional studies on political science, law, and international development.
Health and Environmental Policy
This option focuses on the links between the environment and health. Students learn to understand health and nutrition as both biological phenomena and products of social, behavioral, and cultural influences. Students are prepared for further training in the health professions as well as for graduate studies in the social sciences or public health.
Environmental and Health Communication
This option focuses on the communication aspects of environmental and health issues with a specific focus on practical tools for social change and public participation in science and policy-making processes. Students are prepared for careers such as public information, community relations, health education in government, non-profit, or industry settings. Students are also prepared for graduate studies in fields such as communication, public health, public administration and law.
This option so for students who wish to develop their own specialized program. Their programs must focus on particular topic, area of application, or body of knowledge concerned with environmental policy, environmental health, institutions, or behavior. Students must identify, in writing and with the aid of a faculty adviser, the specific intellectual and vocational goals of the individualized program.